After years of generating incremental awareness but little movement, the recreational saltwater fishing industry today is uniquely positioned to affect change in saltwater fisheries management.
Keeping waterways clean and open to boaters is an important goal of the recreational marine industry. Individually and as members of trade organizations, marine businesses push for the enactment of fair rules and regulations governing use of the nation's rivers, lakes, streams and ocean waters.
When marine dealers approached Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, and said their biggest challenge was filling jobs, Gruhn sensed there was a crisis brewing.
Glenn Hughes, a veteran boating and fishing journalist, now heads industry relations for the American Sportfishing Association. The ASA has worked to unite the industry and advocate for fishing during the past 80 years.
Rod and Bob Johnstone independently arrived at the same conclusion 39 years ago before launching the perennially popular J/24: The wave of baby boomers who were having so much fun sailing Hobie, Sunfish and other beach boats were marrying and having children and were primed for owning a performance family keelboat.
In the weeks leading up to the November election, boating and fishing advocates were quietly working with transition teams of the Clinton and Trump campaigns to ensure that saltwater fishing isn’t overlooked as interest groups clamor for a spot at the table.
The toxic cyanobacteria bloom began as a slime green, turned bright blue, then brown and eventually transmuted into a mass of black rot as the stench hanging over the water at Central Marine ripened from the smell of rotting garbage to putrid carcasses to feces.
Check the website for South Florida’s Marine Industry Day celebration and you’ll find among the sponsorship acknowledgments the logo for Brightline, the new name for All Aboard Florida, the Miami-to-Orlando high-speed rail service that is barreling down the tracks toward inauguration in 2017.
Organizers of ICAST — the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show — are expecting a record turnout this year as their collaboration with the marine industry strengthens.
Melissa Danko, who celebrates her 15th anniversary as executive director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey this month, has piled up a long list of accomplishments in her decade and a half at the helm of the organization.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story concludes a two-part special report on the challenges facing recreation-based industries and what is being done to overcome them.